The statistics are staggering: More than 70,000 people died in the U.S. in 2017 from drug overdoses, and emergency department (ED) visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in all parts of the U.S. from July 2016 to September 2017.
The lesser-known story is what happens to those who survive an overdose… the individuals who are at highest risk for a subsequent fatal overdose.
The emotional aftereffects of an overdose—guilt, anger and anxiety—are often compounded by the lack of resources and assistance survivors may find upon returning to the responsibilities of daily life.
Aetna’s Guardian Angel program works to close this gap, using claims data to identify members who have recently been admitted to the ED following a non-fatal opioid-related overdose. Once a member is identified, a clinician who specializes in addiction recovery calls the member to connect him or her with evidence-based treatment and provide education on community support and resources.